A miracle is occurring on my front porch, where resides a large, gold, Tuscan-looking flower pot that held yellow mums last fall and a bouquet of dried stalks all winter. By the time I got around to breaking off the stalks in February, new foliage had emerged from the soil (Texas winters being what they are). Though it has grown quite large, the plant is not particularly interesting. Its leggy stems do not form the usual tight, rounded dome of a mum bush. Instead, they lean away from the house toward the sun, like concert-goers waving their arms above their heads, captured by camera in their sway to the right. I knew blossoms would not appear, but resurrected greenery is a little miracle itself, and better than an empty flower pot.
In April, I noticed buds on this autumn annual! As a few of them timidly open in air that must feel shockingly warm, they remind me to release my rigidity in life about what should happen when.
It took me a couple of days to realize there is a mystery afoot: the buds and flowers are scarlet. I have photographic proof (see post: Every Drop of Sun) of a glorious September day last year, when one beam of sunlight punctured through the trees and lit that pot of yellow mums aglow, as if the very finger of God was bestowing a special blessing on them.
(I like to imagine that sometimes when he sees a tree or a rock or a squirrel joyfully doing what it was made to do, he cannot keep from reaching out to touch it.)
It does not seem likely that golden mums could be reborn as red ones. I fantasize that maybe this little surprise is a glitch like the one that occurred in The Truman Show, where Jim Carrey’s character’s entire perfect life is a reality TV show and he doesn’t know it. He detects a filming error and eventually unravels the entire façade. Maybe my life is not what I think it is. Maybe the russet mums are my glitch.
So far, only about half the stalks have developed buds and only about eight or nine of those have bloomed, but more are opening every day. I'm sure some will never open all the way, but for several weeks, I have been drawn to that mysterious gift whenever I need a little less reality, as though a sacred secret is hidden there just for me. Its effect on me has been curious, calming, intriguing. I think of Jesus pointing to a lily to make a point about God's care for his creatures. Consider the lilies, he said.
I'm considering the mums.
P.S. Several weeks into the mystery, the flowers are turning out to be yellowish--but unlike the originals, they have red centers. I think it still qualifies as a mystery. They are, after all, mums in May.
What's your miracle?
(HAha!I just noticed that if you click on the picture, you can see my dog in the doorway!